Ron Howard continues his titanic accounts of real-life events (having ‘Apollo 13’ and ‘Frost/Nixon’) under his belt with the story between the 1970’s F1 rivals of James Hunt and Niki Lauda with ‘RUSH’. With Peter Morgan again on this collaboration writing the script on this incredible sporting story, you might suspect something of high quality. And while technically it is, there is to me something missing.
The thing with this story between Lauda and Hunt is that it really is one of the most remarkable stories which you would have thought Hollywood could have produced. And at the heart of this story was this incredible case of passion, defying the odds and more so friendship. So when a story which doesn’t need changing dramatically, takes away this incredible look at friendship you feel like the purpose feels muddled and confused. Now I understand some stuff from the story of Lauda and Hunt will indeed changed for dramatic beats in its narrative, which is standard but when there is a lot of complexities of this relationship taken away and instead sticking to more character archetypes the whole feels rather straight down the line then really anything to really stick your teeth into, or like the story it’s based on – remember. Don’t get me wrong now, audiences who are uninitiated with the story and F1 world, I can imagine will find it fine. But to me it could be better; it could do better to this audience who don’t know about this story. If this film was a feature length documentary like ‘Senna’ instead I believe it could be more tense and arguably more memorable than that of ‘Rush’. Now you might be thinking I’m just nitpicking here, but when it mentions at the end of the film that there were just very respected friends (interlocked with actual footage of the men themselves from archive footage) you do feel slightly perplexed and thinking ‘‘why didn’t we get this with this film?’’. And the fact I am saying this as a non-F1 Fan might indeed come as a surprises to you.
On a more positive note Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl are excellent and do have good chemistry and presence on screen. The sound editing on the cars engines, sense of speed (Danny Boyle/’Dredd’ DoP Anthony Dod Mantle bringing his trade mark flair) and general direction is very good. Howard really does a good job resurrecting by meticulously shooting shot-by-shot real life rash crash scenes from that season. There is a great sense of the 1970’s, everything from the soundtrack, costumes and Murray Walker –alike commentary. And also watch out for respectable upcoming British acting talent of Steven Mangan, Shaun Evans and Natalie Dormer (even if like Olivia Wilde, doesn’t do half as much as expected – however it is a very male orientated story). And there is a good almost Horror film – like surgery sequence also.
The best way to describe the whole friendship of Hunt and Lauda is that of Kirk and Spock (Kirk being Hunt and Spock being Lauda). Unfortunately there isn’t a sense of this at all, and ultimately you might think that this is a little bit of a missed opportunity as the audiences who are not fans, nor familiar with this sporting world, could have had something better, (and like Howard’s ‘Apollo 13’ and ‘Frost/Nixon’) and as memorable.